Helping Your Kids Cope With Stress
As adults we often look back at our childhood through rose colored glasses remembering how simple and uncomplicated life seemed to be. We often forget that kids view the world differently as that things that may not even appear on our radar may take on a huge meaning to a child and leave them feeling stressed.
Children often suffer high levels of stress that overtime can become chronic and affect their health and their outlook on life. And this stress can be caused by anything from academics to family problems, peer relationships, or even feeling different from the rest of the family. Knowing the signs of stress in children, can help you identify when your child is feeling stressed.
Signs of Stress In Kids
The signs of stress in children are not so very different from the signs of stress we see in ourselves. Here are some signs that should alert that your child is feeling stressed to the max.
Constantly feeling tired
Changes in mood
Anxiety about certain places or events
Isolating themselves from friends and family
Understanding Why Your Child is Stressed
Children may not realize that the feelings they are having are due to stress or if they do they may not completely understand why they are feeling stressed. They simply know that it is not a pleasant feeling and just keep hoping it will somehow go away. However, while many children suffer from stress in silence they do give clues to the cause of their stress even when can't actually verbalize the cause. Here are a few ways you can get some understanding of why your child is stressed.
Really Listen to Your Child- As parents who are lead busy lives we often listen to our children with one ear. However, really listening to your child can give some real clues as to the cause of their stress. For example, they may mention in passing another student who doesn't like them, or a homework assignment they just didn't understand, but that everyone else got. These kinds of statements may be clues that your child is being bullied or that he feels stressed because he is having trouble keeping up with classmates. Listening to your child will allow you to ask the right questions to get him to open up.
Be Alert To Signs- If your child suddenly has a headache or stomach ache every Thursday, and Thursdays are class exercise days then he may be stressed because he not able to achieve physically what other kids in his class are achieving. If your child suddenly feels too tired to play every time a certain neighborhood child comes buy then there may be something about the his relationship with the neighbor that is causing him stress. By being alert to your child's attempts to avoid to certain people or activities may give you a real clue as to why they are stressed.
What Not To Do
As parents we sometimes put stress on our children without meaning too. Here are some things you should never do that can lead your child to feeling a huge amount of stress.
Don't pressure your child achieve whether in academics, sports, or some other activity. Children have a real desire to please their parents and not being able to meet a parent's expectations can place a great deal of stress on your child.
Don't Over Schedule your child. As parents we want our children to experience it all, and that often leads to over scheduling them and leaving them no down time to recharge their bodies and simply relax.
Don't discuss adult problems within hearing of your child. Your child doesn't need to hear about your financial problems, or the disagreement you and your spouse had over him coming home late. These things will only upset your child and cause them to worry which can lead to them feeling stressed.
How To Help Your Child Learn Coping Techniques That Can Use Throughout Their Life
Teaching your child the right way to cope with stress will help them not only deal with stress today, but throughout their lives so they can live healthier and happier at any age. Here are a few simple coping strategies that can really help.
Teach your child one or two quick calming techniques that will help to calm their stress down immediately. Such as drawing a deep breath in, closing their eyes and slowly let the breath out. By focusing on their breathing they can calm themselves down quickly.
Teach your children to talk about the things that stress them. Sometimes just the act of venting can serve to help calm us down and alleviate stress.
Show your child how to create a relaxing bedtime routine that will allow them to get a more restful night's sleep. Lack of sleep will only make a person feel more stressed.
Encourage your child to find an activity that they find calming and relaxing as a means of getting some downtime from the hectic activities of the day.
You can't stop your child from feeling stress, but understanding the cause of their stress and teaching them some effective coping skills can help your child to reduce their stress and feel more relaxed and in command of the situation.